A new fund has been set up to help local authorities transform their services through new delivery models, with Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster's shared service agreement held up as a prime example of how councils can use innovative models to save money.
Some £1 million of funding is being offered to 10 “pioneering local authorities” to develop and implement similar models for delivering their services.
The government is encouraging local authorities to apply for this support and combine “the best of public, private and voluntary sectors through partnering”.
Each council will be awarded £100,000 to undertake a strategic review of all available options, as well as receive guidance from an expert panel.
“Across the country dozens of councils are already doing more with less, cutting back office bureaucracy and focussing on providing the high quality frontline services that people expect, which has contributed to levels of satisfaction with councils going up nationally,” said Local Government secretary Eric Pickles.
“Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster (tri-borough) for instance have teamed up to share their services more effectively whilst at the same time freezing or even cutting council tax.”
He added: “We are now going further still, helping 10 more councils take the initiative and find better more innovative ways of delivering local services for their residents, supported by £1 million of government funding.”
The tri-borough area in London recently signed a deal with BT and Agilisys to deliver ICT services under a shared framework agreement that is thought to be worth over £1 billion.
It is hoped that the three boroughs can build on previous shared deals and deliver further cost reductions and improve efficiency through the agreement. The councils recently said that by sharing £300 million worth of services, they expect to hit an overall savings target of £3.4 million by 2014/15, and to save an additional £7 million by 2015/16.